Technology Roundup – Sony PlayStation 5 coming, Oracle’s TikTok deal falling short on national security concerns

科技精選——索尼PlayStation 5即將上市,甲骨文和TikTok交易受阻
Published on: September 17, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

Sony PlayStation 5 coming Nov. 12 at $500; Digital Edition for $400

Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 5 will launch Nov. 12 with a price of $500 for the base system, and the discless PS5: Digital Edition will be $400 on the same launch date.

That compares with recent news that Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox Series X would launch at $500 two days before, on Nov. 10, with its mini-sized Series S priced at $300.

Sony spent part of its day pushing back on reports that it was slashing production plans for the unit by 4M units, to a total of 11M.

Updated 4:55 p.m.: Sony stock is up 0.6% after hours; MSFT is up 0.1%.

Oracle’s TikTok deal falling short on national security concerns – Bloomberg

The bid for TikTok (BDNCE) featuring Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) is falling short of resolving Trump administration concerns over national security, Bloomberg reports.

Oracle is taking a sudden turn lower into the market close, down 0.7%.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) – the body concerned with national security implications in such deals – was reported to be weighing the deal’s implications yesterday.

While President Trump has the authority to OK the deal, continuing concerns from security officials may sway him.

Those concerns include issues like data security, as well as terms of the bid and China’s eventual potential influence.

Discussion between administration officials and the companies are ongoing, Bloomberg says.

Facebook, New York Times team up on augmented-reality journalism

Part of Facebook’s (FB -3.7%) rollout of augmented-reality announcements with Facebook Connect today includes momentum around its Spark AR effort – and that includes a partnership with The New York Times (NYT +0.4%) to build filters and effects on Instagram to extend and contextualize the NYT’s journalism.

More than 400,000 creators from more than 190 countries have published Spark AR effects for Facebook and Instagram, Facebook says, and they’ve published over 1.2M AR effects to date.

In the past three months, more than 150 “effect owners” have hit more than 1B views and uses. And Facebook will open up its Portal and Messenger to Spark AR publishing next year.

For the NYT, it’s the first time it’s experimented with AR at this scale off its own site/apps. It’s built a dedicated AR Lab to use Spark AR Studio, with guidance from Facebook – and it will provide valuable feedback to Facebook on its experience with the platform.

Facebook will provide financial and technical support but no influence on the editorial side, it says.

AT&T may have ad-subsidized phone plans within year – Reuters

AT&T (T +1.1%) could roll out wireless phone plans that are partly subsidized by advertising within a year, CEO John Stankey tells Reuters.

It’s an idea that hasn’t really taken hold when tried by other carriers/MVNOs, and it points to a commitment to the ad business even as AT&T reportedly explores the sale of its Xandr unit after a few years building up its ad-space presence.

“I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill,” Stankey tells Reuters.

And as the ad industry wrestles mightily with the threats to device identifiers, including Apple’s IDFA and cookies, AT&T engineers are working on “unified customer identifiers,” allowing for better targeting across multiple devices.

The news is also of a piece with reports that an ad-supported tier of HBO Max is set to arrive in the spring.

The company hasn’t offered details on any cost for ad-supported HBO Max, but it does look like “free” might be off the table: Stankey told Bloomberg that an ad-supported tier will “cost less” than current HBO Max, which is $14.99/month.

Snowflake opens at $245, more than doubling IPO price

Snowflake (NYSE:SNOW) opens at $245 vs. its IPO price of $120, which itself was upped from an initial hoped-for range of $75-$85.

The company sold 28M shares, raising nearly $3.4B on the IPO at a $33B valuation. At the $245 opening price, that valuation now tops $66B (on about $500M in annual revenue).

Update: Shares rocketed to as high as $320, before pulling back and setting off a volatility-related circuit breaker. Current price (1 PM ET) is $257.25.